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The Other Runner
Recalling, during a drought, a rainy day last year
Wind spread the rain across the glass, I hearing it
While reading Milton all day long, and looking up
From time to time, to wonder when it would stop,
And then forgetting rain, in the warm room where I sat.
Then arriving at the beach: yellow-brown breakers lit
From under a slowly lifting ledge of cloud -- the tops
Catching the level blaze, and darkness soon to drop,
And for my run the sand wave-beaten hard and fl at.
I ran alone, leaving some saunterers behind,
Beside a set of fresh footprints so far apart
I couldn't match them long, and slowed my pace, resigned;
Thinking of Milton, no, of every excellence,
How it exhilarates and humiliates the heart;
High waves nearing both sets of our footprints.